Jack Eichel has taken his first step or skate in his road to recovery from the high ankle sprain that sidelined him on Feb. 10. Given a timetable of four to six weeks, Eichel skated Saturday for the first time, according to the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington. Despite skating, head coach Phil Housley stated that he is not ready to return to practice yet and there is no timetable for a return.
“We don’t want to put him under that sort of pressure,” Housley said. “He has skated. He started skating yesterday so that’s good to see him start making progress.”
With the season hitting its final stretch, there is no guarantee that Eichel will return to the lineup at all, although Housley said that Eichel definitely wants to return before the end of the season. The 21-year-old was on pace to surpass his career highs in goals as he already had 22 goals in 55 games (24 goals is his career high). The team is 4-5-1 without Eichel these past 10 games.
- Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun writes that Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba and forward Adam Lowry are both progressing, but aren’t expected to return during the Jets’ six-game road trip. Trouba has been missing since Jan. 25 with an ankle injury has been skating for more than a week, while Lowry has been out since Feb. 1 with a lower-body injury. However, forward Brandon Tanev is ready to return, but head coach Paul Maurice doesn’t want to change his forward lineup. Defenseman Toby Enstrom is expected back either Tuesday or Thursday. He’s missed two games with a lower-body injury.
- Wiebe also adds that Winnipeg Jets goaltender Steve Mason is traveling to New York City to meet up with team for their upcoming game against the New York Rangers on Tuesday. He got in a game of conditioning with the Manitoba Moose Saturday, allowing four goals on 22 shots in a 5-4 overtime victory. Mason has been out with a concussion and hasn’t played in a game since Jan. 9.
- Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News tweets that defenseman Marco Scandella, who missed most of Friday’s game due to a big hit on the boards, is practicing with the team today.
- SinBinVegas tweets that Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt and winger James Neal (hand) both did not fly with the team to New Jersey, which will start the team’s five-game road-trip. However, both are expected to eventually meet up with the team.